“Nature, Red In Booth Tooth And Claw!”

I’ve done my fair share of backwoods backpacking in my youth.    I didn’t exactly go where no man has gone before, but I did walk without fear where it would have probably taken a few months for someone to stumble across my remains if I had broken a leg.

Let me just say that people who have never been out in the wild are fucking stupid when it comes to the animals who live there.  Case in point is this story from a few years ago of a woman who was badly injured during a javelina attack while walking her dogs in a suburban neighborhood.  And how did these notoriously wary beasts lose their natural fear of man?  Because the neighbors were feeding the hogs, probably because they thought they were just so cute and cuddly.

Like I said, fucking stupid.

Got dogs?  I do!  Love em’ to death!  Mainly because they love me back.

They are both about 50 pounds (22 kilos).  Not small, no.  Even so, I go out with them every single time I let them into the yard to water the bushes.  Why?  Because there are coyotes about!  You can hear them yipping and howling in the wee hours of the night if they should happen to catch and kill something.

What would one obese man who is in advanced middle age do if three or four coyotes should hop the fence and be in the yard when I and my beloved dogs should venture forth one fine morning?  Shoot them, obviously.  I am always armed if it is legal to be armed, after all.

So my dogs are medium sized, and cannot be snatched up by a coyote on the run.  What about people with smaller beasts?

You would have to be some sort of quick draw artist, as well as one fine shot, to be able to gun down fast moving threats on the fly as they close in on your fuzzy darlings.  Most likely the predator would maim or kill the dog even if you were a modern shootist.

Thanks to the Southern Rockies Nature Blog, we have been given a heads up to he CoyoteVest, armor for your itty bitty pooch!

Don’t laugh!  It was designed by someone who lost their dog to a coyote attack.

What is it with that forest of brightly colored plastic spikes?  Keeps eagles and other raptors from swooping down and using their talons to sever the spine of the puppy.  Makes the lapdog look bigger too.

This really isn’t anything new.  Modern hunting dogs that go after very dangerous game, such as the aforementioned wild hogs, can be outfitted with kevlar vests to keep them from becoming eviscerated by the razorbacks.

And who can forget the scene from Conan the Barbarian (1982) where some wardogs kill Conan’s father?

If you happen to own small dogs and you live where you can hear the howl of the coyote, you might think of armoring up the pooch.  But don’t go unarmed in case the predators decide your pets are hard targets, while you look all soft and ready for the fang.

“In Texas It’s Always Hot, Dry, Sunny, Not A Cloud In The Sky.”

The quote above comes from actress Piper Perabo.  I assume she was referring to west Texas, as that is the only place in the state where that description fits.

She is wrong about there never being any clouds, though.  We get a few here and there.  This was the view out of the door of my shack last evening as the sun was going down.

(Click for bigger.)

I sometimes hear people around here complaining about the lack of green, how it is always brown.  I suppose they just never look up.

Where’s The BEEF?

My job requires frequent stays in Austin, Texas, the capital city of the state.  The hotel I favor is across the street from Donn’s, a local BBQ restaurant.  Not the best BBQ joint in the world, but convenient and oh so filling.

I like the three meat platter.

(Click for bigger.)

Any BBQ fan in the world will swear up and down that you also need pickles and bread, an essential component of any BBQ meal.  Why aren’t they in the picture?  Because they are free for the taking at the service counter.  Get what you want. Load up, even.  If you are looking to make some meat-and-pickle sandwiches back in your hotel room, no one will bat an eye.  But needful as they are, pickles and bread aren’t considered to be worthy of taking up space with the good stuff.

They have good breakfast food.  Here is one of their breakfast specials featuring brisket-and-potato tacos.

Sorry for the small pic.  It came from the restaurant website.

Still no bread or pickles.  Again, they are there if you want them.  There just isn’t any reason to waste space in the frame for such a basic component of a real, honest to goodness BBQ meal.  Not when there is barely room for the delicious meat and side dishes, that is.

A recent article on Vice wonders why Brooklyn, New York BBQ is taking over the world.  Below is the headlining picture from the article.

(Click for bigger.)

Do you know what this picture really needs?  A whole lot more bread and pickles on that tray to fill in all that empty space around the meager portion of meat.

(Hat tip to Glenn.)

This Sounds Vomitable

(Click for bigger.)

Strawberry and lemon flavored beer.  Limited edition, but still.

I have to admit that I didn’t try this odd concoction, as I am not a beer drinker, and so it may well be the most delightful and refreshing beer there ever was.  I freely admit that I am not brave enough to start with this particular brew.

For those readers who do not hail from the United States, or who live in the US where the product is not available, let me assure you that it is a real beverage and not some parody.

God bless America!

End Of An Era

Below is the trailer for the 1973 movie Serpico, and it has a line or two about a gun that the main character is buying.

The gun that the hero hippy cop was buying was a Browning Hi Power, and the guy doing the selling certainly seems to be impressed the firepower it commands.

“Takes a 14 shot clip!  You expecting an army?”

Not exactly accurate.  The magazine at the time held 13 rounds of 9mm Parabellum, with one in the chamber.  Fourteen total, not 14 in the magazine.

Still, consider the times.  Police forces at the time were wedded to revolvers, six rounds in the cylinder and then one had to go through a long reloading process.  To most Americans in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the only autoloaders that existed in their minds were 1911‘s.  Seven round magazines, and then you were out.  The Hi Power must have seemed like a monster on steroids.

Originally designed by famed firearms inventor John Moses Browning, the same guy who invented the aforementioned 1911, the Hi Power was not put into production until 1935, nine years after his death.  It was the most advanced production handgun on the planet at that time, and for decades afterwards, and just about every military wanted something like the Hi Power.

People discussing the merits of the Hi Power like to say that at least 50 armies across the world adopted the gun as their primary sidearm, and that is certainly true.  But what is usually not mentioned is how the design was essentially stolen by at least a few countries.

Make an internal change or two and claim that it is a completely different design entirely.  The Warsaw Pact countries are famous for this, with Hungary being the one that spent the least effort to cover their tracks.  Canada looked to the Hi Power when they were thinking of developing a Magnum autoloader for their military, simply making the design larger and more robust to handle the massive stress caused by firing an incredibly powerful round. Such piracy of the design is a sure sign of how iconic and useful it has been through the years.

Alas, all things must come to an end.  The Browning website states that Hi Power production has ceased.  The guns waiting to be sold will last for some time to come, and the massive numbers already out in the world, will mean that examples of the gun will not become scarce for the rest of my life.  Still, I can’t help becoming a bit maudlin when I consider the end of such a favored warhorse.

Not A Time To Second Guess

Did any of you see this?

Tina Ring and her daughter Ashley Lee make a living for their families through their liquor store in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  A masked robber, armed with a shotgun, threatens their lives and takes the cash in the till before exiting the building.

He has what he said he wanted, but he comes back.  Why?  He had just robbed two helpless women, leaving them unmolested.  Maybe he had second thoughts about that second part.

We don’t have much information except the video, and some of the action takes place off camera.  Tina the mom arms herself with a revolver, don’t know what make or model, but I would guess something chambered for the .38 Special cartridge.  Daughter Ashley favors an autoloader, probably chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge.  If this is what they are using, and I have no way to know if it is, then they are both perfectly adequate rounds for self defense.

The end of the video is particularly terrifying.  The robber returns, wrestles the gun from Tina, and tries to shoot Ashley.  Why didn’t the gun go off?  I think Tina expended a round or two off camera.  Something tells me the gun was empty, the hammer falling on spent cartridges.

So I’m someone who teaches people how to get through situations like this.  Do I have any thoughts?  Perhaps some critique of the actions of Tina and Ashley?

Continue reading

The Madness Of Crowds

One of the aspects of self defense is being aware of your surroundings, particularly the behavior of people nearby.  If someone is moving against the flow of foot traffic, for example, or if someone is wearing heavy winter clothing on a hot summer day.  Pay attention to the patterns, and these anomalies will stand out.

Long time reader knirirr brought the following fascinating and historically important photo to my attention.

(Click to enbiggen.)

This is a street party held on August 15, 1945.  That is known as Victory Over Japan Day, and for most it signaled the end of World War II.

Why all the kids?  Massive numbers of children were evacuated from London and other major targets of German bombing raids during the war.  They were mainly sent to small towns where they were cared for by total strangers until after the war.  The picture depicts the tea party thrown by some of the townspeople for their charges before the children were shipped back, probably to the great relief of just about everyone involved.

It isn’t just movement and dress that depict harmful intent, it also expression and body language.  All those faces looking at the camera, most bored and waiting for the shutter to snap so they can get on with the festivities.  Some are goofing off for the picture, wearing silly hats for example, and one or two even show a smile that appears genuine.

I didn’t notice any of that at first glance, not even a single detail.  Instead my eyes were instantly drawn to the one face amongst all the others that shows hatred and anger, and my attention flashed along the enraged person’s sight line to discover the object of all that enmity!

Do you see it?  Go below the fold to see an altered version of the photo where I reveal what was instantly apparent to me.

Continue reading